Whitney Young senior guard Javon Freeman became the first major domino to fall in the local Class of 2018 on Saturday night as he committed to Valparaiso.
The 6-foot-4 Freeman helped lead the Dolphins to an IHSA Class 4A state championship last season as he was one of the most potent scorers in the state.
An All-Area candidate heading into his senior season, Freeman felt it was time to make his decision, even as high-major programs were showing interest after a strong summer playing with Meanstreets on the grassroots circuit.
"It close to home and I felt like it was a great fit for me," Freeman said of Valparaiso. "I had a great connection with all the coaches."
Valparaiso has recruited Chicago hard over the years and this current staff has plenty of local connections. Second-year head coach Matt Lottich is a New Trier graduate and assistant coach Emanuel Dildy is a Chicago native who has previously been an assistant coach at Loyola.
Freeman's commitment is important for Valparaiso as they continue to do a great job of landing Chicago-area talent. And with the Crusaders moving into the Missouri Valley Conference for the 2017-18 season after previously competing in the Horizon League, the program also needed to secure commitments from players who are talented enough to compete in a higher-caliber conference.
Landing Freeman is a great first step, as he is the first commitment for Valpo in the Class of 2018.
With Freeman, point guard Xavier Castaneda and guard Justin Boyd all returning for Whitney Young this season, the Dolphins will once again be a major factor in the city and state title race as they'll compete for the No. 1 spot in our preseason CSN Preps Power Rankings.